lonely polygamist book coverReviewed by Jennifer Jensen

Golden Richards is slipping in his faith and his duty to his family. A practicing fundamentalist LDS member, Golden has four wives and 28 children. His family is divided into three houses, and his time is divided as evenly as possible between the different households. The children barely know their father, and the wives, especially Wife #4 (Trish), are growing increasingly frustrated with him for ignoring them. Money is spread thin between his various homes, and to improve their lot Golden has agreed to construct a brothel in Las Vegas. Because of the nature of the project, Golden must lie to those he loves about what his work really encompasses.

During his building project, Golden meets Huila, the wife of his boss. Their tentative friendship develops into something more, threatening to rip apart at the seams Golden’s already fragile living arrangement. When tragedy strikes, Golden will reevaluate what “family” means to him, and face head-on the consequences that both his past and recent actions brought down on him.

When I first started reading The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall, I knew I had stumbled upon a truly remarkable book. Instead of devouring it, I took my time with it to fully absorb every expertly penned phrase and to re-read passages which made a strong impression on me.

The Lonely Polygamist is told from the point of view of three main characters: Golden Richards, Wife #4 Trish, and neglected 11-year-old son Rusty. Each of their personalities is unique and masterfully fleshed out; I had a strong picture of them in my mind as their various stories unfolded. Although at times I became utterly displeased with each of these 3 characters, it was impossible not to feel some sympathy toward each of them.

The Lonely Polygamist is sure to challenge any preconceived notions about polygamists one might have. The lifestyle of this family is beautifully tragic, and in reading this book I gained a sort of respect for people who choose to live in such a manner. Their way of life involves much sacrifice, patience, trust, and acceptance–something that so few of us exhibit in our own lives.

Jennifer graduated from the University of Utah with a BA in English. She occasionally dabbles with her own fiction writing, particularly with the Young Adult and Paranormal genres. She currently resides in Utah with her husband and daughter.

This book was provided free of any obligation by W. W. Norton & Company. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.